When you’re dealing with endometriosis pain, it can be difficult to go about your day, get work done, enjoy time with loved ones, and be present during meaningful experiences. What’s worse, it can be difficult to manage your pain. Too many times, it is even difficult to get an endometriosis diagnosis in the first place.
The level of pain accompanying endometriosis can vary from person to person, and for many women the pain can be excruciating. It’s estimated that 190 million people of reproductive age have endometriosis, but on average it takes 8-12 years to get a diagnosis, which means many people are dealing with endometriosis pain without having a proper diagnosis.
So, how can you tell if it’s endometriosis pain you’re dealing with and how do you alleviate the symptoms?
- Excessive cramping
- Pain, especially in your lower back or abdomen
- Abnormal menstrual flow
- Painful urination during your period
- Painful bowel movements during your period
- Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or other gastrointestinal issues
Ways to Deal with Endometriosis Pain
How we deal with pain differs from person to person, and our perception of pain and tolerance to pain are different as well. You may find that some of these remedies work for you while others don’t. Some may temporarily relieve the pain while others only temper it. Keep trying until you find what works for you.
Using Heat to Alleviate Endometriosis Pain
Applying heat to the areas of the body in which you are experiencing endometriosis pain helps to loosen the muscles, alleviating the intensity of cramps and soothing aches in the muscles. When you’re dealing with endometriosis pain, there are several options when it comes to applying heat to painful areas.
Heating pads/hot water bottle
Storing a heating pad or hot water bottle near your bed and adding it to your packing list for traveling can help make sure you’re always prepared when pain sets in. You may find it worth it to invest in a large heating pad to cover your entire back or abdomen when applying heat.
To make a rice sock, you simply fill a sock with rice and heat the rice sock in the microwave. It will absorb heat from the microwave so you can apply it to the area where you’re experiencing pain. You’ll want to use a large sock so the rice doesn’t escape easily and maybe even tie it shut. The rice and sock combo is flexible, so it can mold to a small part of your body as you apply it. One downside to a rice sock is that they usually are not very large and can only apply heat to a small part of the abdomen or back. It could also be messy if the rice spills. However, the rice sock method is probably the most cost effective option for applying heat for your endometriosis pain.
Take a hot bath
Probably the most relaxing way to apply heat for your endometriosis pain is by soaking in a hot bath for at least 20 minutes. Not only can it soothe your cramps and aches, but it can also provide an opportunity for self care. Combine a hot bath with a face mask, a glass of wine, or just quiet, thinking time can help you shrug off the days stress and pain. Plus, once you emerge, you’ll be more relaxed overall.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Dealing with Endometriosis Pain
Healthy lifestyle choices are not a quick fix to soothe endometriosis pain, but they can help in the long term. Think of healthy choices as your way of giving your body the tools it needs to manage the pain you’re experiencing.
Hydrating can help alleviate cramps and bloating as well as help you feel more energized. When you’re dehydrated, pain can seem even worse. Making sure you’re well hydrated may help the pain from endometriosis seem less overwhelming because your body has one of the tools it needs to combat the pain.
Staying active can not only keep your body healthy and release opioids into your body so it’s better equipped to fight off endometriosis pain – it can also help stabilize your mood and loosen your muscles, helping you feel more hopeful and softening the impact of cramps.
The nutrients from a healthy meal can help reduce inflammation in your body. Since endometriosis is an inflammatory condition and inflammation is a source of pain, dietary choices that combat inflammation may help you manage your endometriosis pain over the long term.
Taking medication as soon as you begin to feel uncomfortable is important for dealing with endometriosis pain and keeping your pain under control. It may also be beneficial to begin taking the recommended dosage of a pain reliever as early as possible (even if the level of pain starts out low, taking a pain reliever ahead of time may help you “get ahead” of the pain).
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Unit
A TENS machine vibrates along the skin to relax your muscles and increase blood flow around the area where you’re experiencing pain. To use a TENS machine, you apply patches to your skin and turn it to your desired intensity. You don’t need a prescription or to go to the doctor to get a TENS machine – there are affordable options online. Keep your TENS machine somewhere it will be easy to access so that you can always reach it once your endometriosis pain sets in.
What to Do if Nothing Seems to Alleviate Your Endometriosis Pain
We know how hard it can be to get an official endometriosis diagnosis, and you may feel even more frustrated to find out you have endo but none of the go-to remedies seem to make your pain manageable. So what do you do to keep from feeling hopeless? In short, you have to do what feels right for you.
Advocate for Yourself
It’s difficult to keep showing up for yourself when you’re in pain. Sometimes it feels like no one sees your pain or believes you. Unfortunately, we hear from so many women that their biggest struggle through their endo journey is receiving proper help from their doctors as well as the disbelief they face from society because their illness is “invisible.” This is why it is crucial to advocate for yourself.
In order to advocate for yourself, you need to know your rights, create strategies for how you will respond when you face opposition, and look for community among other women who are dealing with endometriosis pain. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are feeling dismissed, demeaned, or just plain misunderstood. Consider bringing someone with you to your doctor’s appointments who can back you up. Spend time in online (or in-person) spaces for women who are going through similar struggles. You may find encouragement in knowing that others have experienced what you have. Learning a few tips or tricks that help you deal with your endometriosis pain is also a plus of seeking out community. It’s possible you’ll resources you weren’t aware of in the past that help you.
Ninti is with you!
At Ninti, we know from firsthand experience how painful endometriosis can be. We created Ninti to be a safe place for women who are going through difficult circumstances, whether those hardships are related to mind, body, or soul.
If you have a story about dealing with endometriosis pain or how endometriosis has impacted your life, please share it with us! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story, and sign up for our email newsletter here so you don’t miss out on valuable resources that we’ll be bringing to you soon.